A Move to Bruce Hall Would Assist Affordable Housing Initiative
Superintendent Theresa Axford and School Board Member, Andy Griffiths joined the Monroe Delegation to celebrate Florida Keys Day in Tallahassee last week. In addition to the festivities surrounding Florida Keys Day they had a request which will enable the development of 140 units of affordable housing for teachers. In order for Integra, the company that won the bid to develop the housing at 241 Trumbo Road to move ahead, the administration building there has to be demolished. The fifty-two workers in the building can be relocated to Bruce Hall on United Street. However, that historic structure built in 1925 as an Ecclesiastical Seminary for the Episcopal Church needs serious renovations. That renovation would cost $20,000,000 according to estimates. The building would be a community treasure when renovated and contribute to the historical prestige that the city has throughout the state. It would not only house school district offices but also have meeting rooms and other amenities for the community. Axford was in Tallahassee last year too pushing for assistance with the renovation.
State Representative Jim Mooney and State Senator Anna Maria Rodriquez were able to get $2,000,000 allocated to the project but that’s not enough. Mooney and Rodriguez are supporting the effort this year also. Axford is once again working with them to get the rest of the money. She has been working on this project since she became Superintendent and has enlisted the help of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz whose support and advice have been instrumental in moving the project forward. He can articulate what is needed at Trumbo Point clearly and has been speaking to legislators in Tallahassee to gain their support. He knows that affordable housing is a real need in Monroe County to attract and keep good teachers. Axford plans to meet with Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez in the near future to gain her support as well. The allocation would be a one-time ask for Monroe County Schools. Since the state contribution to education is capped at only 10% where in other areas the state pays 50% or more for education, it seems little to ask when the taxpayers in Monroe County support 90% of education costs yearly.